The more I got to know you and your family, the more I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.
In the next 12 months we were to spend a lot of time together.
Trips to the Coast, time with Chris and Bep, fun with other friends, dinners with your family, movies and some rather illicit “picnics” in the forests around the Cotter Dam were just part of the process of “courtship”, but it was the friendship and fun we had together at this time that will always stay with me.
The Moke covered a lot of miles in that time, including the trip down to the coast one sunny spring day, without the covers, only to find the weather turn stormy in the afternoon. The drive home in an open car with no roof, no waterproof clothes and virtually no warm clothes became a very shivery experience and one we would laugh about for years to come.
Of course, there were the times we would argue and I would drive home those nights, fully expecting that to have been the last time we spent together. Somehow, by the morning I would find myself apologizing and you were gracious enough to welcome me back.
We were two kids trying to find our way together in the world and times of friction were, in hindsight, to be expected. At the time, though; they were full of all the despair, trauma and loss that only young love truly knows.
Your parents were almost the total antithesis of mine; simple good folks seemingly happy with their lot in life, their garden, their children and, seemingly lacking in any pretense.
This was never more evident than at the dining table. At home on the farm, mealtimes generally descended into vitriolic arguments. Whereas at your place, arguments and raised voices over the table were simply not tolerated, as your father quietly and firmly told me one night when your brother and I locked horns over something long forgotten.
Over the course of many years to come, I would learn to respect and revere these wonderfully simple people. They were some of the only people I know, for whom the word, ordinary was not a “put down” but a heartfelt compliment.
The love and times we shared at those times, did much to push my “demons” into the background, the appeal of being “normal” is almost impossible to explain unless someone is in the same position.
I firmly believed I could defeat the “demons” or, at least; I could submerge them in order to achieve normal love and happiness.
We began to talk about marriage and a future together, I remember these times with fondness and a feeling of contentment.
I know now, it is all but impossible to go through life, denying who or what you are but, at the time life was filled with optimism and hope.
The demons were stilled, at least for a time.